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Killswitch Engage - Disarm the Descent (album review)
Disarm the Descent marks Killswitch's blistering return to form after a string of lacklustre offerings, and is easily the band's best work since the legendary Alive Or Just Breathing. This near-perfect album attacks the senses in waves of melodic intensity, never deviating from the signature Killswitch fare yet still managing to bring to the table fresh and engaging material at the same time.

Singer Jesse Leach is back in the fold, injecting visceral vocal power into Killswitch that has been sorely missing during his absence. That's not to insinuate in any way that Howard Jones is a substandard vocalist - I just believe that Leach's vocal style adds more fire to the band's sound. There is an undeniable balls-out honesty that beams through in Leach's delivery; it's this honesty, complemented by the band's real and unbridled passion for crafting excellent heavy music, that has helped Killswitch Engage position themselves worlds apart from other bands in the often half-assed metalcore genre.

Following in the footsteps of Alive Or Just Breathing, Disarm the Descent has no weak tracks - it's top-notch songwriting from top to bottom. In Due Time was stuck in my head for days after I'd first heard it and it still makes plenty of appearances on my internal radio. My personal favourite is the incredible The New Awakening, and I'll go so far as to say that it's arguably the best Killswitch song ever penned. Whilst somewhat rehashed in places, the lyrical content is strong and poignant, dealing with issues of self-empowerment, honour and facing your fears.

Musically, the album shines from start to finish. Leach's multifaceted vocals include screams, guttural growls and clean vocal lines packed with raw emotion. The latter don't take away from the heaviness of the tracks, sitting gracefully atop the abrasively melodic riffage of capable shredders Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel. Disarm the Descent relies on melody more heavily than did its predecessors, however there's still plenty of tight chugging to be found as well as a healthy amount of breakdowns. Killswitch really let loose on this record and show the full power of their outstanding musicianship that has allowed them to mold a distinctive and dominating sound over the past decade.

Disarm the Descent is a truly amazing effort that stands out like a beacon in a tired and overdone genre. It's metalcore of the highest quality, offering enough nostalgic licks to be appreciated by Killswitch fans from the Alive Or Just Breathing era as well as an array of innovative elements to appease the younger generation of metal listeners.


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